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Management of gestational diabetes from the patient's perspective – a comparison of Swedish and Middle-Eastern born women

Authors

  • Katarina Hjelm MSc, PhD, SRNT,

  • Karin Bard MSc, SRNT,

  • Per Nyberg PhD,

  • Jan Apelqvist MD, PhD


Katarina Hjelm
Department of Health Science and Social Work
University of Växjö
S-351 95 Växjö
Sweden
Telephone: +46 470 70 83 05
E-mail: katarina.hjelm@vxu.se

Abstract

Aim.  To explore patients’ evaluation of a specialized diabetes clinic for management of women with gestational diabetes born in Sweden and the Middle East and its contribution to a decreased level of stress and improved coping capability to promote health in patients receiving care.

Background.  No studies comparing patients’ perceptions of healthcare in women of different origin with gestational diabetes have been found. A perceived clinical problem in specialized diabetes care is of lower activity level in self-care in foreign- than Swedish-born women and the question is whether the healthcare organization is optimal in meeting different individuals’ needs.

Design.  Explorative study.

Method.  Semi-structured individual interviews by external evaluators.

Participants.  Consecutive sample. Females with gestational diabetes, 13 born in Sweden and 14 born in the Middle East.

Results.  The healthcare model was perceived as functioning well. Swedish women were problem focused and information seeking. Frustration and stress were increased due to perceived delay in information concerning gestational diabetes, limited access to telephone service and lack of confidence in staff because they lacked the expected competence. Control of gestational diabetes and pregnancy by different persons led to perceived lack of holistic care. Women from the Middle East felt cared, had been given the necessary information and claimed to follow advice. Adequate information reduced respondents’ anxiety and increased their control over the situation.

Conclusions.  The clinic needs to be further improved by adapting programmes to persons to become problem focused by giving adequate information immediately.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Cultural differences in coping strategies and attitudes to gestational diabetes need to be considered. Training of staff working with gestational diabetes patients is urgently needed.

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